As a parent, you may have many questions about vaccinating your child: When should my child be vaccinated? Which vaccines should my child receive? Are they safe? Are there any side effects? Are there any special cases when my child should not be vaccinated?
At Trusted Pediatrics, we understand your concerns and want you to make an informed decision. So, with the help of our Trusted Medical’s Senior Director of Pediatrics, Kelly Ann Williams, MSN, CPNP-AC, PNP-BC, we help answer those questions and more – starting with the purpose of vaccines.
The Benefits of Early Childhood Vaccination
Vaccines help children develop immunity to diseases-some of which can be fatal. Vaccinating your child can help protect them against preventable diseases such as polio, tetanus, measles, HPV, smallpox, meningitis, and hepatitis B. Because children’s immune systems are much more vulnerable, it makes them more susceptible to these diseases. These diseases can spread from child to child and lead to serious health problems. For example, if your child is exposed to a disease such as polio or measles, their immune system may not be strong enough to fight it off.
Keep in mind that vaccinations are also required to travel and for children attending school.
When Should Childhood Vaccinations Be Administered?
The CDC offers recommended childhood vaccination schedules to protect children from preventable diseases as early as possible. The childhood vaccination schedule can be used as a guide to help parents better plan.
For infants, it is generally recommended the very first vaccine they should receive is the Hepatitis B vaccine. Infants should receive their first shot of the Hepatitis B vaccine within the first 12 hours after birth. Hepatitis B can cause a chronic infection that can result in liver damage and liver cancer. The vaccine comes in 3 doses and should be administered at birth, then between 1-2 months old, and finally between 6-18 months old.
Which Vaccines Should Children Receive?
The CDC recommends several vaccines that can protect infants, children, and teens from preventable diseases that can be very serious and require hospitalization or even worse, death. Here is the list of the CDC’s recommended vaccines from birth to 18 years old:
- Hepatitis B (Hep B)
- Rotavirus (RV)
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
- Polio vaccine
- Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- Pneumococcal (PCV)
- Haemophilus influenza
- MMR vaccine – mumps, measles, rubella
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- Pneumococcal (PCV)
- Hepatitis A (Hep A)
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Meningococcal (MenACWY)
- Meningococcal B (MenB)
- Tetanus (T), diphtheria, (D), and pertussis (aP) (Tdap)
We strongly encourage you to speak to your child’s pediatrician about his or her personalized vaccination schedule. The CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule is just one guideline that you can follow, however, your child’s pediatrician may suggest a different guideline. Be sure to speak with your child’s pediatrician for specific recommendations.
Are Vaccines Safe and Are There Any Side Effects?
Vaccines are safe and are very effective against preventable diseases. All vaccines are tested extensively before approval by the FDA. Vaccines make antibodies that fight against the disease and protect the body. Some children may experience mild side effects such as a sore arm/leg or slight fever after receiving their vaccine. Ask your child’s pediatrician about the risks and side effects of certain vaccines.
Is There Any Reason To Not Receive a Vaccine?
Parents with children who may have other health conditions may consider skipping certain vaccines. You should also consult your child’s doctor on this matter.
How Trusted Pediatrics Can Help You
If you’d prefer a pediatrician to visit your home – try My Trusted Pediatrics. A pediatric expert will come to you and provide care right at home, including vaccinations.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s health — we are here for you, caring for yours as if they were our own.
Trusted ER is “Doing the right thing. Every patient. Every time.”